Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Adventures in Dolls and Art
Recently, I was lucky enough to visit my friend JM in her beautiful home, filled with art dolls and statues that she creates. She is a beautiful woman who creates dolls from found objects and discarded materials. She has made a fantasic mask of cigarette butts, dozens of them, and madonnas of rusted cars with beads and wire for hair. They look African, and are intricate. The materials come from soujourns she takes all over the world, a discarded cigar here, a bead there. She uses buttons, and materails, natural and man made, discarded bottles, vinyl and bisque dolls, you name it. She uses acrylics and oils and creates 2D and 3D art. She shows in galleries and has her own website, jeanneomelia.com. Dolls in art and collectors in general have always had their niche in the doll world. David Levinthal, Jarvis Rockwell, J. Cornell, Hans Bellmer, Jeff Koontz, Niki de St.Failles and others have made dolls and toys the center of their work. Manfred Bachman's The Doll focusses on the doll as art theme. The site, The Shelter for Misfit Dolls also has many images of art dolls, including vignettes that are a tribute to the illustrations of Edward Gorey. There are doll artists, of course, including my friend, the late Suzanne Gibson, our good friend R. Lane Herron, the late Lewis Sorensen, elinor bailey, Dewees Cochran, Glenda Rolle, Deb Staggs Ritter of Uneek Designs, Rustie, Avigail Brahms, Brigitte Deval, Gillie Carlson, Sheila Wallace and the many artists of NIADA, ODACA, and other doll artists organizations. Historically, there are Mme. Tussaud, Mme. Montanari, Edith Samuel, Rose O'Neill, Grace Drayton, Grace Storey, Emma Clear, so many more. There are great resources for art dolls of all kinds including The Art Doll Quarterly and Somerset Studios and other Somerset magazines. Lots of older and current magazines like Dolls, National Doll World, Modern Doll Collector feature art dolls and are worth a look or two. Doll Castle News is great for art dolls and handmade dolls and features articles by the talented Mr. R. Lane Herron. Sasha dolls, the brainchildren of artists Sasha Morgenthaler have their own newsletter. Anne Rice had many art dolls in her former collection and museum, and Demi Moore is a big fan of them. She has bough a Victorian home to house the dolls. Doll Collectors/Makers are the ultimate recyclers. Dolls are made of many materials, and the most creative, like my friend JM's, often used discards and castoffs. The china doll industry may well have started with leftovers from the china factories, and Darrow rawhide dolls were made of leftovers from Darrows whip and leather goods business. Art dolls and craft dolls, all handmade folk dolls, restructured, restored and rescued dolls are worthy of their corner in a varied doll collection. They are also fun to make.